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A scouting report on the Buccaneers

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Since we aren't too far removed from the holidays and I'm still in a giving mood, here's a bonus Tampa Bay cheerleader for you.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: You guys have, by now, figured out that I have completely lost track of what day of the week it is. That works out to your benefit, though. Since I gave you cheerleader photos a day early, you'll get an extra one tomorrow.]

Admittedly, I know very little about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I know, of course, that Jon Gruden is their coach and the irritating Jeff Garcia is their quarterback, but that's about it.

So, to find out a little more about Sunday's playoff opponent I asked JScott from 'Buc 'Em' to give us a brief scouting report. His comments are below.

Offense

Our offense runs through QB Jeff Garcia. He changes plays in the huddle at the chagrin of Jon Gruden, he keeps plays alive to our receivers bewilderment, and he gets up despite having his head knocked off. Our offense has been pretty balanced even though we lost RB Cadillac Williams and LT Luke Petitgout early in the season. RB Earnest Graham runs the toss to the right side of the line often, WR Joey Galloway usually explodes off screen passes and sideline routes where he splits the defenders. WR Ike Hilliard is clearly our third down receiver and he receives the ball quite often as he leads the team in receptions.

In order to beat our offense, I think Garcia needs to be pressured early and often. Galloway has a tender shoulder, so bump and run coverage could render him useless. He is guaranteed for one huge pick up a game though. A lot of defenses hone in on Galloway and forget about Graham and the tight ends. If a guy is open, Garcia finds them. Graham can only be stopped when he initially touches the ball, otherwise he is fearless and always makes positive yardage.

Defense

Monte Kiffin has had fun running the true "Tampa Two" this season, thanks to a surprising surge from our front four. Gaines Adams, Jovan Haye, and Greg White have been applying pressure on the QB in flurries this season. This allows the LB's (Derrick Brooks, Barrett Ruud, and Cato June) the ability to sit back and read the QB's eyes. Ruud has emerged as a silent leader on defense. He has a knack for separating the ball carrier from the ball. CB Brian Kelly, when healthy, has been nothing short of a shut down corner. With the added pressure from the front four, CB Ronde Barber has been able to do what he does best in intercepting passes. Our fourth-round draft pick, S Tanard Jackson, has been an absolute delight. He is quick to the ball, never misses a tackle, and rivals S Jermaine Phillips for hardest hitter on defense.

Our defense gets in trouble when LB's like Brooks are stuck on the field covering speedy receivers. When the front four can't get in the backfield we tend to give up easy yardage. If Kelly goes down, we tend to get hurt, as backup CB Phillip Buchanon allows receivers to get too much of a cushion to make receptions. Against elite competition this season (Seattle, Indianapolis) we have struggled early and seemed to have given up when falling behind in the game.

Special Teams

Our special teams have been a bright spot coverage-wise, it is our kickoff and punt return teams that are lacking. Phillip Buchanon and Ike Hilliard are virtually useless as punt returners and it did take us 31+ years to return a kickoff for a touchdown. Our kickoff coverage has been stellar this season, with rookie LB Quincy Black leading the way. The unit rarely misses a tackle and provides opponents with horrendous field position.

Thanks to 'JScott.' Check out his site throughout the next for days for more info about the Buccaneers.